School funding deal up in flames
NSW will refuse to sign up to the Morrison government's school funding deal, destroying any hopes the new prime minister had of a quick fix on the controversial issue.
State Education Minister Rob Stokes last night accused the Morrison government of pitting public against private in a return to the "school funding wars of the past".
Scott Morrison yesterday announced a $4.6 billion deal with Catholic and independent schools in a bid to end a long-running war over the Gonski 2.0 school funding model.
The Daily Telegraph understands the special agreement for private schools would hand the Catholic education sector even more money than Labor had promised under its original deal which was scrapped by the Coalition in the interests of creating a "fair" funding deal for all sectors that saved $17 billion.
Senior Coalition sources were frustrated the government had given into the sector which complained the "longest and loudest", describing the extra cash as a "side deal".
"We are the Gonski State. Quite simply, I won't be signing any deal that doesn't treat every student and every school with fairness," Mr Stokes said.
"The Gonski principles provide that school funding should be needs based and sector blind and these are the principles we hold dear.
"We don't want a return to the school funding wars of the past that pitted private schools against public schools, and urge the Federal Government to provide equal treatment for all schools, public and private."
Mr Morrison dumped Simon Birmingham from the education portfolio in what was largely seen as a way to hit the reset button on the tension over school funding with the Catholic sector.
New Education Minister Dan Tehan told The Daily Telegraph last week that his "first priority" would be to fix the school funding issue.
States are yet to sign on to the funding agreement essential to ensure federal cash flows to all schools - public and private - next year.
A spokesman for Mr Tehan said that state schools would not "lose out" under funding arrangements.
"State Government schools will see funding increase at a faster rate than non-government schools," he said.
Mr Morrison and Mr Tehan yesterday announced the government would hand private school $3.2 billion over 10 years from 2020 as well as a $1.2 billion "Choice and Affordability Fund" over 10 years will help keep fees affordable and maintain choice.
The Catholic sector believes the deal would hand each school on average an extra $600 per student each year compared with the agreement Birmingham had proposed.